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The Help [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Kathryn Stockett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2009
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women— mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

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Review

The other side of Gone with the Wind - and just as unputdownable The Sunday Times A big, warm girlfriend of a book The Times Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird has changed lives. It's direct descendent The Help has the same potential ... an astonishing feat of accomplishment Daily Express Outstanding, immensely funny, very compelling, brilliant Daily Telegraph Immensely readable Observer Daring, vitally important and very courageous, I loved and admired The Help. Fantastic Marian Keyes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Feb. 10 2009
Format:Hardcover
I absolutely LOVED this book. Kathryn Stockett did an amazing job. I loved how the story was written from the perspectives of the different women. I enjoyed seeing the world through their very different eyes and watching them develop throughout the story. The beautifully descriptive writing drew me in and made me feel like I was right there. This is an intense story of how these different women deal with the issue of racism during the civil rights movement. It is a poignant and deeply moving novel. I didn't want the book to end. I think this book would make an amazing movie as well. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a Keeper! June 15 2009
By Burchy
Format:Hardcover
What an absorbing book! I could hardly wait until I finished it; yet, I didn't want this book to end. It is filled with people you love to hate; people you love; people who turned out to be less than you thought; people who turned out to be more than you thought. Laugh out loud funny at times; heartbreaking at others. Understated suspense- not the kind we are used to but it is there. To divulge more would be to spoil it. Buy it or borrow it, but read it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding novel! Aug. 18 2009
By GGi
Format:Hardcover
This has become one of my favorite books. Growing up as a child of the 80's and 90's in Canada this book gave me a very real glimpse of racial segregation in the south in the 60's. The love and empathy that develop's for each of the woman who have a voice in this book makes it impossible to set down.

Miss Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny leave you cheering for them each step of the way. Kathryn Stockett has written a novel that will have you laughing, crying, frustrated, infurirated, heart broken, elated, anxious, engrossed and always wanting more.

If you only read 1 novel this summer make it 'The Help'.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Help Loving "The Help" June 15 2010
By NyiNya TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
How good is "The Help"? How many books do you know that effortlessly combine moral probity and social consciousness with a wittiness that makes you grin with delight? The year is 1962, Skeeter Whelan comes home from Old Miss with her BA and a yen to write. Her first assignment turns out to be an expose of racism...not the headline making kind that Medger Evers and Martin Luther King were fighting at the time, not school segregation, equal rights and voter registration, but the quiet, insidious kind found in every genteel Southern household. In other words, Skeeter's job is to reveal what it's really like to be a black maid in a white home.

Our would-be writer goes to the source, the maids themselves, but is able to coax only two--under promise of anonymity--to work with her: Minnie, whose outspokenness has cost her many, many jobs, and Abileen, who is considered a jewel, a treasure, and wholeheartedly trusted to raise her employers' precious (and seemingly endless supply of)babies...but not to use the family toilet. Soon, the other maids come flocking to tell their tales.

It's apparent that the church-going, mimosa-scented caucasian ladies of this world haven't made much progress from the days of Simon Legree. Oh, sure, nobody is taking a whip to the cleaning lady, but no law says you can't subject her to a humiliating series of rules, interrogations and suspicions.

The writing is so light and so fresh, you don't quite realize how seriously the writer, Kathryn Stockett, treats the subject. The book is funny...
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling June 17 2009
By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I have to admit that I was emotionally enthralled for the entire duration of reading this book from cover to cover. Stockett is a masterful storyteller, her narrative pulls you in, the suspense keeps you engaged, and the drama makes you want to shed a tear. This book is important because it explores the Jim Crow South in a way that is deeply personal, in a way that no textbook, no documentary could ever explain it. The evil of racism is not simply in the discrimination, but in the way it institutionalizes the power relations between white and black. The lives of these women really pulls you into their world.

As for the story itself, again, Stockett does a great job developing the central characters through multiple monologues. Stockett is also great at using literary devices like irony and satire to great effect. The only criticism I must admit though is that the ending appears cut short a little leaving a slight sense of incompleteness.

Overall, this is one of the best novels I have read in a long long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets ... Dec 24 2009
By Pandora
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully written. Rich strong, three dimensional characters. A story without sentimentality, yet intensely life-affirming. Neck-snappingly insightful at times, without being preachy OR full of clichés. Full of hope for the human condition. People in this book definitely grow and change, some more than others, as happens in the real world ... therefore if one reader can't see that, perhaps the writing is a just tad too subtle? But most readers "get it", I see.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine novel by a talented writer, but . . . Oct. 20 2011
Format:Paperback
Kathryn Stockett is a talented writer, and The Help is an extraordinary first novel, but there is a great problem at the heart of it. Stockett takes on the voice of black women in the American South, and no matter how fine her perceptions and how admirable her sentiments, as a white woman (no matter her life-long personal experience as someone from the American South), her imagination can't possibly stretch to contain the totality of black experience.
I live in Canada now, but when I was 9-10 years old, we lived in Texas, and we had "help" -- not live-in help, but someone who came in 3-4 times a week to clean up and prepare the occasional meal. When she could she would baby-sit my two younger sisters and me. She was our favorite baby-sitter.
This was in the early '50s, when segregation still ruled full force. Much later my father told me that the first time Alma came to baby-sit and he got ready to drive her home, she climbed into the back seat of his car. He said, "Come sit up front." She said, "If I do, there's going to be trouble." We came to Texas from Europe, and my father was astonished. He said that was when he began to understand just what segregation in the South really meant.
I can't begin to compare our few years' experience of the American South with Stockett's life-long experience, but I do feel this. As a veteran (white) journalist, even if I had spent my whole life in the South, I would never dare to take on a black person's voice. Stockett's rendition of black speech is accurate, but because it was necessarily written out of a white person's perception, it can only sound patronizing.
I think Stockett could have created a great novel if she had written entirely from a white person's point of view. It would have been more difficult, but writing true is always difficult.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
As a woman, I greatly appreciated the book. It's a great story with also a great perspective on what it was like to be a woman (black or white) back then. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Sigie
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie
The book, "The Help" is an insightful look at the relationships between 'colored' servants, the people they worked for and the racial rift as seen from the perspective of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Henrie Timmers
5.0 out of 5 stars great
This was a great book. I enjoy reading books about the south in this and early times like Gone With the Wind
Published 2 months ago by dixiekins
5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner
This book is a page turner. It gives us a look back in history. It was easy to visualize the environment and settings in one's mind as one was reading the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by sucheta sikdar
4.0 out of 5 stars easy read
Great story, so much reality. Helps to understand the plight of the AFrican Americans in the 60's some humor and absusive sitiations
Published 3 months ago by nco
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I enjoyed this book overall but was a bit disappointed with the abrupt end. Would recommend to others. Interested in seeing the movie.
Published 3 months ago by Christina
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I don't live in those times!
Wonderful portrayal of life in the 1950's America; the superficial "society ladies" and
their snobby prejudices. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Wicks
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read
While I love the movie which I saw first I knew the book would have more to it and I was right. I just couldn't put it down I felt like I was right there with them in the 1960's... Read more
Published 4 months ago by kazza1000green
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner
For a start, I have to applaud Kathryn for taking on such an theme and for the depth of her creativity. It is marvelous. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John T C
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, spellbinding
Incredibly well written book. It draws you in early and doesn't let go until you finish it. It really reflects the types of cruelty, discrimination, and social hierarchy that can... Read more
Published 5 months ago by CLS
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